I have previously discussed the importance of body language in an unrelated topic.
This time I decided to get into specifics and bring you a few ideas, positive body language examples to apply in your daily lives.
Before we get into the actual tips, a question comes to mind – Why should you care?
Assuming you haven’t read any of my previous articles discussing the topic, you probably wouldn’t know what the heck this is all about.
Why is body language so important?
It reflects your mood, making your feelings that much more obvious, but it doesn’t do anything else.
Or does it?
What’s the importance of body language?
I bet some of you at least heard about how most communication in nonverbal, and how we tend to express much more than we actually say through our body language and expressions.
What most of us don’t know is that it works the other way around as well.
As such, it’s a force we should learn to harness in our daily lives, as a physical habit, and build on top of it the rest of our lives.
Kind of like a supporting pillar.
In 2014 a study was published.
In this study, a research team attempted to find out just how closely related our mind is to our bodies.
They took 39 different participants and split them into two groups, making one group practice “happy walking” (straight posture, quick steps and the like) and the other practice “sad walking” (slumped shoulders, slow steps etc).
While doing that, they had read to both groups a list of emotionally charged words with positive and negative meanings (such as party, funeral, angry, laughing and so on).
After that, the participants were asked to list off whatever words that they remembered.
As it turns out, the participants that experienced the “happy walk” were much more likely to remember positive words, and those who experienced the “sad walk” recalled more negative words than positive ones.
In conclusion, both the brain and the body are heavily related.
Some of you may argue to a degree and come up with a different conclusion, claiming how mine isn’t all that accurate, but if you were to read the rest of this article then I guarantee you some newfound wisdom at the very least.
The fact is that the body can cause certain things to the mind.
Our thoughts can make us feel bad or good, stress is a major cause of heart disease and the placebo effect is very powerful.
This actually works both ways, your mental condition is often times related to your physical one and vice versa.
Suddenly the thought of paying attention to body language isn’t so absurd anymore, now is it?
Much like any other habit, it gets easier over time as you simply get used to it.
But that’s enough of that, here are 3 actual positive body language examples that are worth considering.
Smiles are the enemy of mental illnesses – believe it.
People with depression, for example, have a much more difficult time reading the body language of other people, whether because they are so self-centered or otherwise.
Also, they don’t smile at all.
This is all but natural, of course. General loss of interest, apathy and overall sadness are symptoms of depression, so smiling really doesn’t come into play anywhere around here.
The truth is that depressed people who don’t smile are actually making their condition worse, and once it’s worse…
Well, that’s less of a reason for them to smile right there.
In a sense, this leads to a never-ending cycle.
A particularly clever research from 1988 attempted to further prove this idea.
In this research, the participants were separated into two groups, with each participant receiving a pen.
In the first group, they were told to hold the pen with their teeth and in the second with their lips.
The group that held the pen with their teeth appeared to be smiling, and the group who held it with their lips seemed to have pretty dark expression.
The participants were then given a comic to read and were asked about their opinions of it.
Shockingly enough, the group that held the pen in their teeth found it much funnier (on average) than the group that held the pen in their mouths.
This goes to show you that even a fake smile can go a long way, so do yourself a favor and smile some more, even if you don’t mean it.
After some time, the smile will become much more genuine, and that’s proven by science.
2) Eye contact
Did you notice how certain types of people avoid eye contact?
I don’t mean like liars, but more about people who either suffer from some type of mental disorder or are just that lacking in confidence.
Here’s the deal, much like with smiles, people avoid eye contact due to some very specific reasons, such as anxiety, who are bound to get worse if left untreated.
In that sense, it’s a cycle, but why?
Research goes to show us that eye-contact makes us much more self-aware, something which we tend to be bothered by.
This fact is particularly true for people that experience specific issues, such as depression (low sense of worth), social anxiety (“Am I being judged?!”) or just a general lack of confidence.
But this is actually a huge problem that you are better off without.
Aside from it being an excellent tool for building self-confidence, it actually has plenty of practical uses.
Eye contact is meant to create trust and a feeling of closeness, it is also a tool for expressing real emotion.
For example, it’s much harder to fake a smile successfully with the other person looking you in the eye.
Studies show that eye contact increases attraction (based on gender preference) and overall platonic affection and trust between people.
Running away from it only makes you condition worse, really.
3) Power postures
Researcher Amy Cuddy actually reviews these in depth, it’s her specialty in a sense.
You know how some animals puff out their chests and stand proudly? Say, like lions? This isn’t just a random act of nature, it is meant to not only send a message but to also act as self-reassurance.
In one of her experiments, Amy Cuddy herself conducted an experiment.
Some participants were asked to practice these power postures for two minutes each (first one while standing up, and the other while sitting down) while the others practiced weak postures.
The difference was very much evident.
Research shows that simply sitting straight can encourage positive thoughts.
Not only that, but some research shows that a straight posture can cause changes in your hormones, leading to an increase in testosterone and a decrease in cortisol (also known as “the stress hormone”)
By how much? Specific data suggests that testosterone is increased by up to 20% while cortisol decreases by up to 25% on average.
Crazy, right? You are just standing up straight and all of a sudden there is some much improvement in your mental condition.
The truth is that posture is one of the most telling elements of your mood and one of the most influential ones as well.
Fixing your posture will lead to major improvement in your condition, leading to at least some improvement in all other categories of body language.
Sure, it might cause your back to hurt for a while after focusing on it so much, but over time it will become natural – and it will be worth it.
If you are into research, I suggest watching Amy Cuddy’s TED presentation, she really did a great job reviewing the topic these
Bonus Round: Mirror the other person’s body language
So we discussed how body language affects our mind, and we talked about how eye contact helps us build trust.
What about mirroring their movements? I don’t mean like mocking them or anything, just adopting the same body language that they do.
It makes sense when you think about it, people are what they express, so why not express the same tone that the other person does? As it turns out, it helps to build empathy and understanding.
Thing is, people tend to copy their surrounding to better fit in, this phenomenon is called “mirror neurons” and it builds trust.
Simply being properly engaged in a conversation already encourages this type of behavior, so do yourself a favor and go with the flow – it will prove itself to be nothing but helpful to you.
These positive body language examples are easy to follow
This is actually pretty straight forward.
Stand tall, smile, keep eye contact and be engaged in the conversation.
Even if you have to force this type of behavior on yourself, even if you “can’t”, you simply have to, it will help you develop some qualities that you may never have had up to that point as well as rid you of many mental struggles.
Do yourself a favor and apply these, results will come after a while.
Now, here’s an interesting question – have you ever noticed any of these?
Body language is a daily occurrence, yet we often times miss it.
Make sure to write your answers in the comment section below, I read every single one of them.
Also, if you got any questions you would like to ask me personally then simply send me an email – I reply to those pretty quickly